St. Louis County Board considers $163.4 million preliminary levy for 2023 

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 Administration • 100 North Fifth Avenue West, Room 202 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 726-2450 •

Kevin Z. Gray
County Administrator




September 13, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


St. Louis County Board considers $163.4 million preliminary levy for 2023 

The St. Louis County Board has given initial approval for the 2023 maximum property tax levy in the amount of $163,366,729. This is a 4.39% increase in the levy compared to last year, however significant growth in the property tax base will offset this increase for many property owners. 


Net tax capacity in St. Louis County grew by an estimated 17% in the last year. Typically, this would mean a decrease in the percentage of the levy each property owner must pay. However, this year, some of that growth is attributed to the increase in residential property values that resulted from the busy real estate market, so the effects will vary depending on the property's classification, overall value, and how much the value increased.


It's estimated the owner of a home valued at $250,000 would pay approximately $185 dollars less in 2023 on the county portion of their property taxes compared to this year if the value of their home remained the same. Meanwhile, commercial properties saw less overall growth in valuations and thus will see even less impact on their county property taxes.


The proposed 2023 levy:

  • absorbs increased cost pressures from inflation
  • funds employee salary and benefits commitments
  • sustains investments in mental health and substance use disorder services
  • invests in enhanced medical services at the County Jail; technology, including cyber security; and economic development efforts
  • incorporates targeted uses of reserves and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies

"We, like everyone, are experiencing the significant impacts of inflation, and increased costs driven by supply chain challenges. Fuel costs alone have increased by more than 50%, which is particularly significant when you remember our Public Works and Sheriff's Office vehicles cover our 7,000 square mile county," said County Administrator Kevin Gray.


"Even just a few months ago, we were facing the need to increase the levy by much more, because we don't have the option to cut back on the majority of services we provide," said Gray. "So I am very appreciative of the hard work of our staff and the leadership from our Commissioners to trim costs and find other revenue sources, because we are all aware our citizens and business owners are feeling similar impacts."


Commissioner Keith Nelson who chairs the Board's Finance Committee added, "While any increase in the levy concerns me, this number is reasonable, responsible and reflective of the times in which we live. Our state partners have failed county government and the communities that we serve by failing to pass a tax bill and a bonding bill. Despite a $9 billion surplus, they've left local government units to contend with the budgetary challenges."


The vote today was part of the Board's Committee of the Whole meeting, and was unanimous. The final vote will occur during the next County Board meeting, on September 27. Minnesota counties are required by law to set their maximum property tax levy - that portion of the budget collected through property taxes - by the end of September. As the Board and staff work to finalize the 2023 budget over the next few months, the levy amount may be reduced, but it cannot increase. Commissioners will vote on the final capital and operating budget on December 13.


Two meetings have been set to collect public input on the levy and budget. They will be on Monday, November 21, at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia, and the following Monday, November 28, at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth. Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. The November 28 meeting will also be livestreamed on the county's Facebook page. People do not need a Facebook account to view the meeting.


Citizens also may provide input at any County Board meeting, or by contacting commissioners directly. Contact information can be found at To learn more about the proposed levy and the current budget for St. Louis County, visit or email